This is the first post of 2012 (yes, i know…), and also the first in a new feature on this blog. The intention is that it be a Weekly Web Watch, but calling it Weekend Web Watch will probably turn out to be more accurate… i follow a lot of different blogs and websites, and so here i plan to offer a round-up of recent findings around the Web which i have found significant, helpful, encouraging, challenging, or just plain quirky, as well as perhaps some older treasures.
- On Christmas Eve i read one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons titled The Condescension of Christ. Though it was not delivered as a Christmas-day message, Spurgeon, taking as his text 2 Corinthians 8:9, speaks incredibly powerfully on the incarnation of Christ and what it means for you and for me. Read this, and be deeply encouraged and challenged!
- One of my favourite Christmas movies is A Charlie Brown Christmas by Peanuts creator Charles Schultz. Read about the backstory behind its creation in The ordinary courage of Charlie Brown, and be sure to watch the clip.
- BiblicalTraining.org have added to their already excellent collection of seminary class recordings Douglas Moo’s lectures on Romans. These are available to listen or watch free online (free, safe registration required).
- With the recent release of Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, it seems appropriate to highlight a few talks i’ve enjoyed about Tolkien’s writing, in particular Tim Keller’s talk on The Significance of J.R.R. Tolkien and Jerram Barrs’ talk The Quest for Goodness in the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. Wonderful hearing two of my favourite speakers/writers discussing their love for Tolkien.
- Lots of blogs and sites have been publishing “best of 2012” posts around now. There are some really superb, helpful posts among the Top 25 Posts of 2012 from DesiringGod.org, which you’ll want to check out. Tony Reinke has blogged on his Favourite Books of 2012 on Writing; maybe if i were to read some of these i’d blog a bit more…
- As 2012 draws to a close, John Piper turns the question of God’s justice on its head as he asks, “Where was God in all the Goodness of 2012?” Rightly understanding the sovereignty and justice of God is of ultimate importance.
- Jon Bloom looks to the future — not just to 2013, but to the time “when the perfect comes” (1 Corinthians 13:10) in this encouraging word to the weary and hurt. Be sure to follow the “next year in Jerusalem!” link at the end as well. As Spurgeon says, “The rougher the voyage the more the mariners long for port, and heaven becomes more and more ‘a desired haven,’ as our trials multiply.”
- Now is the best time to plan and prepare for your Bible reading next year. Justin Taylor presents a helpful list of aids for reading the Bible in 2013. My own pick from these — and what i’ve found immensely helpful the past few years — is the M’Cheyne reading plan, together with Don Carson’s excellent notes “For the Love of God”. (You can download free PDFs of Carson’s notes via this publication list, or follow this blog.) You might want to make use of Youversion to keep track of your progress together with a friend; you can follow the M’Cheyne plan on Youversion also. And here, from a letter to a 13-year old asking how to go deeper in Bible study, are some brief, basic, practical suggestions on how to read the Bible.
- My friends who’ve recently graduated from Bible college and are starting internships or other positions may in particular be encouraged and challenged by this installation sermon preached by Mark Dever, The Four P’s of a Faithful Pastorate. There is much godly, practical wisdom in this great talk in which Dever exhorts the new pastor to preach, pray, personally disciple, and be patient.